Anthurium vs. Alocasia: Differences Explained

Anthuriums are known for their beautiful brightly colored waxy flowers and Alocasia for their striking foliage. Both these plants do well indoors and are showpieces within any home. So what are the differences between these two lovely plants?

Anthuriums are herbaceous perennials with heart-shaped leaves and brightly colored spathes. Alocasia is a tuberous perennial with large, broad, arrowhead-shaped leaves and white or green spathes. Anthuriums reach 1 to 2 feet, whereas Alocasias can grow 2 to 6 feet tall.

While Anthurium and Alocasia plants are attractive houseplants, they are two very diverse plant species. These differences are explained in the article below, so read on!

Anthurium vs. Alocasia

The common name for the Anthurium plant is the flamingo flower or lace-leaf plant. Alocasia is commonly named the elephant ear plant (related to Colocasia plants, also known as elephant ear plant).

Anthurium Plant Species

Anthurium spp. is a genus of about 1,000 species of herbaceous perennials from the Araceae family. This tropical plant is native to the Americas, from northern Mexico and Argentina, and parts of the Caribbean.

The most common species available in the US is Anthurium andreanum. Anthuriums grow well in containers and flourish as indoor houseplants.

Alocasia Plant Species

Alocasia spp. is a genus of about 97 species of tuberous or rhizomatous perennials from the Araceae or Aroid family. This herbaceous perennial is native to tropical and subtropical Asia and eastern Australia. However, a wide range of hybrids and cultivars are globally cultivated.

The most common species of Alocasia available in the US is Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly’. Alocasia plants make good houseplants and will flourish in favorable conditions.

The Plant’s Leaf: Anthurium vs. Alocasia

The color and shape of the leaves in Anthurium and Alocasia plants will differ according to their various varieties.

Anthurium Leaf

The leaves of the Anthurium plant are usually heart-shaped and green in color. Younger leaves are often lighter in color than older leaves. 

Some varieties have reddish-colored or lovely eye-catching white vein patterned leaves. Other types have oval, elongated, or spatula-shaped leaves.

Alocasia Leaf

The leaf of the Alocasia is upright, dark green in color, and is arrowhead to heart-shaped. They are large (8 to 36 inches or 20 to 91 centimeters long) and broad and resemble elephant ears.

Some varieties have wavy-edged leaves, and others are adorned with white veins on their leaves. The veins can either be thin or thick, and some varieties resemble large scales.

The Flower of Anthurium vs. Alocasia

Anthurium and Alocasia have spathe-like flowers that are different in color and shape.

Anthurium Flower

Anthurium flowers come in colors of striking red, pink, orange, salmon, white, purple, yellow, and multi-colored. The beautiful flower grows on long slender stems and looks like it’s made of wax or plastic. These flowers look stunning and elegant as cut flowers placed in a tall vase. But an Anthurium’s flower is not a flower at all!

It is a large heart-shaped curved spathe that enfolds a protruding white and yellow straight spike-shaped spadix flower. Quite unusual and very beautiful! These flowers will bloom between 2 to 3 months in the right conditions.

Alocasia Flower

Alocasia plants rarely bloom indoors, but they might produce a flower if they receive the perfect growing conditions. The flower, typical of an aroid, is a white or green-colored spathe surrounding a white or cream spadix. 

These flowers bloom in spring and summer. Although this plant does flower, Alocasia is grown and admired for its beautiful foliage rather than its flower.

Height: Anthurium vs. Alocasia

Anthuriums are slow to grow, whereas Alocasia plants are fast growers.

Anthurium Height

The stalk of the Anthurium is thick and, when matured, has a woody-like stem. This plant can grow to a height of 1 to 2 feet (31 to 61 centimeters). Anthuriums are slow to moderate growers if placed in their favored growing conditions. 

The flamingo flower plant will grow in a cycle of three months of flowering with two to three months of no flowers and then continue again with three months of flowering. 

Alocasia Height

With their strong stems and huge elephant-shaped leaves, Alocasia plants can reach a height of 2 to 6 feet (61 to 183 centimeters), depending on the species. This plant is a fast grower, and in ideal conditions, large plants will produce one or two new leaves a month.  Younger plants may grow a little slower. 

Elephant ear plants may produce flowers if they grow in perfect conditions, but this is not very likely.

Favored Soil: Anthuriums vs. Alocasia

The preferred soil for Anthurium and Alocasia plants is:

Anthurium Favored Soil

Anthuriums thrive in coarse and loose soil that can be well-drained. A store-bought potting mix, preferably an Orchid potting mix such as the Better-Gro Phalaenopsis Orchid Potting Mix (available on, is a good fit for this plant.

For better drainage, add some perlite or pumice, coconut husks, and perlite. Anthuriums like acidic soil, so keep the pH between 5.5 and 6.5.

Alocasia Favored Soil

Alocasia plants require well-aerated loose organic soil with added peat moss and perlite. An ideal potting mix is houseplant soil that holds in moisture and promotes good drainage. Alocasia plants love moist soil but cannot survive in damp, soggy conditions. The elephant ear plants prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 and 6.5.

Temperature and Humidity Anthurium vs. Alocasia

Anthurium and Alocasia plants thrive in the following temperatures and humidity conditions:

Anthurium Temperature and Humidity

An Anthurium plant requires temperatures between 65°C to 90°F (18°C to 32°C). Therefore, it is best to keep the flamingo flower plant away from cold drafts, blasts from the aircon, heaters, or vents that will influence the temperature level in the room. This plant thrives in humid conditions of 60 to 80% humidity.

If the humidity drops below this, the flamingo flower plant will need regular misting, or it could be placed on a humidity pebble tray.

Alocasia Temperature and Humidity

The Alocasia plant thrives in temperatures between 60°C to 80°F (60°C to 27°C). These plants do not like fluctuation in temperatures so keep them away from cold drafts, heaters, and vents. Keep the humidity for this plant at 50 to 60%.

However, the air in residential homes might be too dry. Therefore, a room humidifier should be used to regulate the humidity, or the plant can be placed on a humidity pebble tray.

Light Requirements: Anthurium vs. Alocasia

Both these plants prefer bright but indirect light, although one plant is a bit fussier about its light requirements:

Anthurium Light Requirements

Anthuriums grow well in bright and indirect light. A good spot for this plant is a sunny area near a window. They do not like direct sunlight so hang a sheer curtain in front of the window if there is too much light.

Alocasia Light Requirements

Alocasia plants are rather fussy about the amount of light they need daily. Place this plant near a sunny window where it can receive 6 to 8 hours of bright sunlight but not sun exposure every day. Find a spot in the room that will cater to Alocasia’s lighting needs.

Watering Preference: Anthurium vs. Alocasia

Watering preferences for these plants are:

Anthurium Watering Preference

Anthuriums that grow in pots need regular watering but still be mindful not to overwater the plant. Flamingo flower plants need watering twice a week during summer and once a week during the cold season. Always feel the soil before watering the plant. Only water if the first inch of the soil is dry.

Alocasia Watering Preference

Alocasias are water-loving plants and prefer their soil to be moist all the time but not soggy.

This plant requires weekly watering sessions in the summer months and during winter water when the soil is dry about 2 inches (5 centimeters) deep. Always drain the drip tray after each watering session so the plant does not stand in water.

Fertilizing Anthurium vs. Alocasia

Below are the guidelines for fertilizing Anthurium and Alocasia:

Fertilizing Anthurium 

The flamingo flower plant does not need a lot of fertilizing. However, fertilizing will boost the plant’s spathe to blossom. Liquid fertilizer with phosphorous and a ratio of 1:2:1 is best for producing a healthy spadix. Or opt for a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer for the plant’s overall health. A great option to consider is the Espoma ORPF8 Organic Orchid Plant Food (available on

Anthuriums require fertilizing three times a year using a slow-release fertilizer at a quarter strength to prevent over-fertilizing. This plant does not need fertilizing during the winter months.

Fertilizing Alocasia

Alocasia plants require fertilizing once a month during spring and summer. An all-purpose indoor fertilizer (20-20-20) such as the J R Peters Inc Jacks Classic No.4 (available on at half strength is best. Before applying the fertilizer, make sure the soil is damp to avoid fertilizer burn. It is not necessary to fertilize the Alocasia plant during the winter months.


Anthuriums are herbaceous, and Alocasias are tuberous plants, both from the Araceae family. These plants have spathe-like flowers; Anthurium is brightly colored, while Alocasia’s are white or green.

The shape of the leaves of these plants changes according to the different varieties.

However, the leaves of the Anthurium are mostly heart-shaped and solid green. In contrast, the leaves of the Alocasia are long and upright, arrowhead-shaped, resembling elephant ears.

Both plants make good houseplants and prefer warm temperatures, humid conditions, and indirect light for optimal growth.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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